Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

5. July 2010 10:00
by Jobo
4 Comments

Bitterroot... actually kind of Sweet!

5. July 2010 10:00 by Jobo | 4 Comments

Well we survived the move... or at least mostly survived it!  All of our belongings are here at the new house now, and the majority of the important boxes have been unpacked.  I can officially cook supper now, and find silly bathroom things like nail files and q-tips, and we can crawl safely and soundly into bed.  I have been working towards unpacking my crafty stuff, but somehow those things always take the back burner to the necessities - even though for me, the crafty things really ARE necessities.  I?ve already needed my sewing machine for some impromptu curtain altering, and I?ve found most of my yarn boxes, though most of them are only cracked open with yarn spewing from them, not really any reasonable or orderly unpacking.  I love my new ?studio? room... which like the last one, is actually just a bedroom, but this time a nice bright one with a huge window that lets in the maximum natural daylight.  I sat and spun for about an hour today on my Traddy, and didn't even bother turning on the light!  perfect.  I plan on posting some photos of the new studio room when I finally get it organized.

So, even though I didn?t have unbridled access to all things fibery, I made absolutely certain that I would have access to appropriate amounts of yarn and knitting during the move.  For me, the knitting, is kind of like my own personal meditation.  Without stealing a few moments to work a few stitches here and there... I will admit... I am not a very nice person.  My brain needs the mindless and methodical forming of stitches to keep itself from freaking out and going seriously over the edge.  The week before the move I had finished a pair of socks, so I went looking for a few other straightforward projects that I could jump into if need be.  I started a Bitterroot Shawl, and kept 2 skeins of sock yarn on hand for anxiety emergencies.

And... here is the completed and blocked Bitterroot:

Bitterrootfull

You may notice that she is sitting on a familiar patio table... but on a new patio!  You may also notice that our new ?yard? is still as of yet un-grassed.... and will require smoothing out and planting ASAP if we are ever to have a proper lawn. 

bitterrootborder 

When I spun this yarn about a year ago... I?m not quite sure what I had in mind for it. I do know, however, that it was an excellent fit for this shawl pattern.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching each shade of green fade to blue and back again.  The pattern itself was quite straightforward, and while I did need to keep a copy of the charts nearby, I didn?t really need to write anything down, as it was fairly simple to read the lace in the knitting itself.  I mostly just kept track of the YO holes, and switched charts as necessary based on that.

bitterrootimprovised point 

My only strategy in knitting this shawl was a) to avoid moving stress and b) to knit until the smaller skein of handspun ran out.  Because of the knit-until-it?s-done scheme... I had to improvise the last few rows and the fitting of the leafy portion to the lacy portion.  Normally I like to follow a pattern to the letter, but here I totally fudged it.  I went from Chart C to realizing that I didn?t have enough yarn to do 20-some rows of Chart D, so I basically glossed over the sets of leaves in D and made the lace edge fit onto what I already had.  Don?t ask me how it went together... honestly I am as surprised as anyone that it worked out.  I was too tired to care the night I made that decision.

bitterrootlines

I really enjoyed the first section of this shawl... the way that the columns lined up along the way with the rows of eyelets was very pleasing, and made it easy to know where you were and that things were working out correctly.  These first rows just flew along and the colors changed before my eyes.  I think I might be addicted to this kind of yarn...

bitterrootoverlap

Yes... another satisfying project completed!  I will definitely do this pattern again sometime, maybe with beads next time? 

27. April 2010 07:46
by Jobo
4 Comments

Carding Your Own Long Color Gradients

27. April 2010 07:46 by Jobo | 4 Comments

I wanted a yarn with a long... looooooonnnnng color gradient....

After being inspired by a shawl made by another spinner... ColorlessBlue... in particular her "Simi" which can be seen on her blog (click here) I thought I would set out to learn to make such yarn.  Hers in particular faded gloriously from light pink through to Black, and was spun from a braid of hand dyed fiber.

I had about 4 ounces of Polwarth Roving, handpainted in shades of Dark Navy (almost black) and screaming lime green leftover from another spinning adventure (Caterpillar 3-ply... more here)

rovingpolwarth 

rovingtorninchunks

 

After some reading... I set out to try and tear this pile of poofy goodness into 6 inch chunks and try to separate them out by color.  I wanted to put all the darkest bits at one end of the table and then gradually cross over to the lightest greens.  Some of the chunks were clearly destined for one pile or the other, but the pieces where there was a little of each color were a little harder to predict.  I decided to just set those aside and see what they looked like once carded.

 

semi worsted blending

 

Then I set out to card the chunks.  I wanted to make a laceweight yarn, hopefully a single, so I wanted my fiber arrangement to be at best "worsted" and the very least "semi-worsted."  I took each chunk and gently blended it with my Ashford hand cards (basically by using them more like a hackle for blending, than for carding this already sublime top)  and I removed the wool from the cards by rolling it from one side to the other (rather than from top to bottom) so that I ended up with a handful of fiber with all of the little wooly strands running in one direction.  Each handful doesn't seem to take very long to card, but there were close to a hundred of them...

 

gradientcarded2

gradient carded You might notice... a lot of the black and dark bits are missing... I got a little overzealous and starting spinning before taking too many photos.  I would estimate that maybe 1/3 of the wool was "dark" and the remaining 2/3 was various shades of green, mostly lighter greens. The transition from Black to Green gave lots of Forest Green shades, a bunch of greenish blues, and even some gray shades.  I carded and carded, and then I attenuated the little tufts of wool into nests for easy spinning.  I spent the better part of 2 hours just carding and attenuating.  This fiber is really nice to work with though... so I didn't mind much!  I really like the feeling of carding my own fiber, manipulating it, holding it in my hands.  And I really like spinning from hand carded fiber, so the process is totally worth it.

 

spungradient

I set right out to work... and finished one bobbin of singles!  This one started with Grey and Black, and the part you see here is where the Black fades to medium/seafoam green.  The next section to spin goes from that green on the left side through to an almost highlighter/neon greenish yellow.  Currently, I have skeined the singles, and am ready to soak them and whack them tonight.  They are thin, but hopefully will hold together alright once they've been shocked (hot and then cold water) and felted a little (whacked on the banister while wet)

I am really excited to see what this will look like knit up.  I am thinking of doing a triangle shaped lace shawl, perhaps something like Aeolian, especially since I have some shiny Hematite Black beads that would look fab with the black section.

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